October is one of the most beautiful months of the year to visit New Orleans. The weather is warm, sunny, and pleasant, and the fall festival season is in full swing, including art, music, film, and more. Second line parades are marching through the old neighborhoods every Sunday and Oktoberfest entertains locals and visitors with a celebration of German culture and food. Also, the New Orleans Saints football team is rocking out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome while the New Orleans Pelicans are just getting back to basketball at the Smoothie King Center.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin runs from June 1 to November 30, with mid-August to October being the riskiest time for a big storm to make landfall. A few days before your trip, check the forecast to see if there are any tropical storms or hurricanes approaching the Gulf of Mexico. If so, make plans to reschedule your trip. Should you already be in New Orleans when the hurricane or tropical storm is about to hit, attempt to leave as soon as possible and avoid being stuck in a bad situation holed up in your hotel room.
New Orleans Weather in October
After a hot summer, October is when New Orleans begins to cool down, but it's still relatively warm.
- Average high: 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius)
October is also the driest month, which means you'll see a lot of sun. It's perfect weather for dining alfresco at some of the city's legendary restaurants, wandering around the French Quarter, and visiting New Orleans' unique above-ground cemeteries. The average rainfall for this month is 3.4 inches, and humidity decreases from about 50 to 19 percent as October progresses.
What to Pack
During the day, the weather will be warm. You can get away with short sleeves, shorts, skirts, and capri pants, but have some layers on hand in case it cools down at night or you spend some time in an overly air-conditioned store or restaurant, which is common in New Orleans. Bring along a light cotton sweater or denim jacket and plan to wear it at night. It is also helpful to pack good walking shoes or a pair of comfortable sandals.
October Events in New Orleans
Note many of these events have been canceled or altered for 2020. Check the details below and event websites for updates. In October, New Orleans offers something for everybody with annual arts festivals, Halloween and Latino parades, and food that will add something special and colorful to your trip.
- Art for Arts’ Sake: The 2020 event has changed from one night to several days; enjoy the fun at New Orleans’ largest art walk from October 3-10. Guests see just about every gallery and museum in the city coming together for art, music, wine, and good company with hubs on Magazine Street and typically other locations.
- Oktoberfest NOLA: This event has been canceled for 2020. The Deutsches Haus, a German heritage group that has existed in New Orleans for nearly a century, holds this annual celebration of German food, language, culture, and, of course, beer. It's all held at the Deutsches Haus, which is transformed into a festive biergarten.
- Carnaval Latino: Parades, food, and musica from around Latin America connect contemporary New Orleans to its history as a long-time Spanish colony. Events are held in the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans on October 10, 2020.
- New Orleans Film Festival: While the festival typically takes place in October, for 2020, it will be held from November 6-22 on a streaming channel and in open-air screenings. Showing independent and feature films from around the world, this regional festival has a reputation for excellence and draws a number of celebrities each year. Films shot in and themed around Louisiana are particularly well-represented.
- Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival: The 2020 event will be free and held virtually from October 16-18. Brought to you by the same crew that presents JazzFest, this festival held in Lafayette Square celebrates “the soul of the south” with—you guessed it—blues and barbecue.
- Krewe of Boo Halloween Parade: This event has been canceled for 2020. New Orleans loves to throw a parade, and frankly, it does them better than anyone else. This Halloween edition, which rolls through the French Quarter, isn’t so different from what you might see at Mardi Gras, but it’s a fair bit spookier, featuring monsters, ghosts, goblins, and the like.
- Voodoo Music + Arts Experience: This event has been canceled for 2020. The consistently diverse but crowd-pleasing lineup at Voodoo makes it one of the most popular music festivals in the area. It presents a full lineup of regional pop, rock, electronic, and other musical acts on Halloween weekend.
October Travel Tips
- The single most important thing to be aware of in October is the hurricane forecast. If a storm is expected to be in New Orleans when you are, it's time to rethink your plans. Otherwise, you're in for some great weather in the Crescent City.
- New Orleans is a year-round destination, and just because the summer is over doesn't mean there isn't a high demand for hotel rooms and restaurant seatings on weekends in October, especially when the Saints are in town.
- The French Quarter is where it's happening, but be on your guard as you would in any urban area, especially at night, when the action really revs up on Bourbon and Frenchmen streets.
If you may want to take your trip some other time in the year, check out our guide on the best time to visit New Orleans.